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85 Days Left to Reform the Patriot Act: Will Senate Judiciary Do It Today? (The Answer is No.)

With Congress’ decision last month to issue a short-term reauthorization of Patriot Act surveillance powers came a promise by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to at least reform these provisions by adding some modest safeguards.

That just may happen in today’s Senate Judiciary business meeting. Markup of S.193 (the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension [...]

61% of Transparency Caucus Votes Against Transparency

In the spring of 2010, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois strode up to the microphones, posed for the cameras, and declared the formation of a new voluntary organization for members of the House of Representatives, the Congressional Transparency Caucus. In his call for colleagues to join the Transparency Caucus, Quigley called for the government to [...]

Why Patriot Act Reform Matters: 767 Days and Counting Without a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

In 91 days, three central search, seizure and surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire again. The period between now and then is an opportunity to drum up support for reforms to these provisions.

Why is it so important to reform the Patriot Act?

From a legal point of view, the Patriot [...]

Tea Party Anger at Michele Bachmann Explodes over Patriot Act Votes

Four times in just one week Michele Bachmann, a Congresswoman from Minnesota and self-appointed Chair of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, voted in favor of the big-government surveillance, search and seizure powers of the Patriot Act. On February 8, Rep. Bachmann voted in favor of reauthorizing Patriot Act with no amendments or committee consideration allowed. [...]

Tea Party Roll Call Voting Record on Final Passage of the Patriot Act, 2-14-2011

On February 14, after a series of initial votes, members of the Tea Party in Congress had one last chance to reject Big Government surveillance programs, searches and seizures without probable cause — practices forbidden by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution they swore to uphold.

Tea Party members of Congress are identified here from [...]

Next Patriot Act Reauthorization Vote: 2/14/2011. Make a Call Today.

Get FISA Right tips us off that the House of Representatives will be voting on final passage of H.R. 514 this Monday. That’s tomorrow, folks. H.R. 514 is the bill that reauthorizes core provisions of the Patriot Act. While the government tells us that the Patriot Act is all about catching rascally terrorists, only one [...]

How did “Tea Party” Members Endorsed by FreedomWorks Vote on the Patriot Act 2-8-11?

The Patriot Act is a nearly ten-year old law that permits searches and seizures to be carried out on American soil without the warrants establishing probable cause required by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Patriot Act powers have been used to spy on law-abiding political activist groups exercising their 1st Amendment constitutional rights [...]

Tea Party Express Endorsed Them. How Did they Vote on the Patriot Act 2-8-11?

Yesterday, we noted for the record how many members of the Tea Party Caucus voted for and against H.R. 514 (reauthorization of the Patriot Act) on February 8, 2011. The outcome was not favorable for an organization claiming to represent a Tea Party movement that is concerned about upholding the Constitution: 38 members of Congress [...]

For the Record: Tea Party Caucus Votes for and against the Patriot Act, Feb. 8 2011

Self-appointed congressional heads of the Tea Party movement are fond of declaring it their mission to protect the U.S. Constitution and fight back against the onslaught of Big Government.

Those are words. When push came to shove on February 8, 2011, what did members of the Tea Party Caucus actually do when asked to reauthorize [...]

House Democrats Who Voted FOR Patriot Act Reauthorization, Feb. 8 2011

You know, it’s a pretty safe bet that a Republican politician will support the anti-constitution, anti-freedom, authoritarian provisions of the Patriot Act: only 26 out of 236 Republicans in the House — less than 10% — voted NO against H.R. 514, the bill Speaker of the House John Boehner tried to shove down Congress’ throat [...]

Patriot Act Reauthorization in House FAILS by a Whisker in Bipartisan Beatback

Because H.R. 514 to reauthorize three core provisions of the Patriot Act was brought up under suspension of House Rules, it needed a two-thirds vote of 290 members of the House of Representatives voting YES to pass.

Even after some arm-twisting, fewer than 290 voted YES, with a small but significanct minority of Republicans voting [...]